If you had a chance to sit down with Prime Minister what would you talk to her about?
Unleashed member ecochick (or Leah to her mates) was faced with just that question recently, when Julia Gillard paid a visit to her school. Check out what Leah and her best buds had to say to the PM, and you'll understand soon enough why she's our latest Activist Challenge winner.
Speaking to the PM about factory farmingand live animal exports is fantastic. But the cherry on top is that Leah and her friends challenged the Prime Minister to go veg for two weeks. And she accepted!
I'll be crossing my fingers that Julia tries out my mum's vegan lasagne recipe in her two weeks of meat-free meals.
Mum's lasagne + a few vegan cupcakes to sweeten the deal, and with any luck Ms Gillard could become the next cruelty-free world leader. Bill Clinton and the ex-President of Slovenia (yup - random fact of the day - he was vegan), would be proud.
But now I'm getting off topic... We were talking about future leaders (I'm looking at you Leah). You can find out more about Leah's meeting with Julia Gillard here and show her some love for her efforts here!
Have you been getting active for animals too? Tell us your story and go in the running to be an Unleashed Activist Challenge winner, just like Leah :-)
How many people do you know who have won three Paralympic medals, have their own Mini-Me made out of Lego, and loved animals so much they went vegan while still in their teens? Not many? Well, prepare to meet one - the amazing Sarah Stewart!
Sarah has represented Australia over 150 times in wheelchair basketball, is studying towards a PhD at Sydney Uni and hangs out with pandas when she's in China. She's even been described as a "whirlpool of talent". As a comparison, the only natural disaster I've been compared to was a "blizzard of dandruff". (I haven't worn black t-shirts since.)
Sarah took up wheelchair basketball in her early twenties. At first describing it as "Quidditch on wheels", she now sees it more as a game of chess. She got really good, really quick and debuted for Australia against the United States on her birthday. That's an awesome b'day present!
Sarah has gone on to win three Paralympic medals for wheelchair basketball, and is nice enough to show them to me when we're talking. I ask her if she wears them to parties instead of normal jewellery. "No - they're really heavy! After the Paralympics for a couple of months, I do tend to just carry them around with me. People really like to see them and get a kick out of them so it seems like a nice thing to do."
Sarah went vegan when she was about 18, and did so out of her love for animals. "I didn't like the idea of causing pain and suffering and taking life. I wouldn't want to cause pain to my dog, or kill and eat my dog, so the idea of doing that to another animal just because I hadn’t met him or her seemed quite wrong." Her dog Chandler (who is sitting quietly through our talk) was no doubt relieved to hear that!
I was surprised (and happy!) to hear that one of Sarah's Australian team-mates is vegetarian, and one of her Sydney Uni team-mates is also vegan. (Discover more compassionate athletes here!) Sarah says that her coaches are cool with her vegan meals, and she rattles off a list of good places to get something to eat in Sydney.
Sarah's list of favourite animals is as long as her list of suggested places to eat in Sydney! "I like a LOT of different animals. I do have a bit of an obsession with cephalopods. And I also like bats. And seals . And dogs, and cows, and cats, and horses and wolves and pigs ..." She trails off laughing.
It turns out that Sarah is also a bit of a Lego nut. "Just a smidgen. I've always loved playing with Lego and building Lego ... and I just didn't stop!" She has a MASSIVE collection of awesome Lego, but definitely the coolest piece is her Lego version of herself, in her Australia uniform, name and number on the back and everything. You know you're a superstar when you've got your own Lego figurine!
So now you know Sarah Stewart - Australian Paralympian, lego addict, and vegan! You can connect with her on twitter: @SarahStewartAus and can catch her playing for the Sydney Uni Flames in the Women's National Wheelchair Basketball League when the season starts in the middle of the year (June through to September - no excuses!)
Two things bring us together as Australians – we're all mates and we all love a day off. This Australia Day, YOU can join the campaign to give our animal mates a day off too – a day off the menu! It'd be un-Australian not to...
Shane Warne, the cast of Home and Away, and a Bondi lifeguard. What do they all have in common? They're all Australian and they all love a day off. Every year across this great nation, Australians unite on January 26th to celebrate our shared love of having a day off. (Umm ... that's right, isn't it?) This year you can make a stand for our four legged mates, by keeping them off your plate. On Australia Day ... Everyone Deserves a Day Off.
However you choose to celebrate your day off – fight un-Australianism, and bring a plate of delicious veggie tucker. Going to a barbie? Cook up some true-blue veggie snags. Picnic? What could be more Australian then taking some lamingtons! Beach party? Wrap yourself in an Aussie flag and take some veggie wraps. The options are as wide as this dry, brown land we call home. You could even host a barbie yourself, encouraging friends to bring a cruelty-free plate.
There's heaps of other ways you can get involved but the best way to celebrate all that's good about Australia is to keep meat off the menu.
Being Australian means more than just ending all your words with the letter "O". So this Australia Day, stand up for the underdog (undersheep?), because Everyone Deserves a Day Off!!
If you're over the idea that being Australian means eating animals, then share this campaign far and wide! You know it makes sense. ;)
This one simple (non-gory) image will change the way you think about animals who are born to be slaughtered in Australia. Prepare to have your mind blown.
Nearly every animal in Australia born to be eaten or have their eggs or milk taken, will not live their full natural life. This chart shows to scale how much of their life they experience before they are killed to be eaten, or because they are no longer 'productive' enough to be kept.
To give it some perspective: the average life expectancy for an Australian is almost 82 years. If you were a 'dairy cow', it would mean you shouldn't bother planning your 21st b'day. If you were a veal calf, you wouldn't even reach 2 years old.
That's a really grim way to look at it - but the sad truth is that most animals in Australia are killed as babies.
You don't have to rescue a pig and have her live in your backyard to be a lifesaver for these animals. All you have to do is decide not to eat them. It's such a simple change in your life, but it will make the world of difference to animals you no longer eat. Take the pledge to be veg, now!
What two things do Joaquin Phoenix, Jessica Chastain and Anne Hathaway all have in common? They've all just been nominated for Academy Awards, and ... well, you'll have to read on to find out the second thing!
These three big-time Hollywood stars are all in the running to win Oscars in February, and they're also all vegan! So for being such amazing role models and for saving lives by refusing to eat animal products, we'll be cheering for these cruelty-free candidates on Oscars night.
Joaquin Phoenix is up for a Best Actor nod for his movie, The Master. A long-time voice for animals, Joaquin's best work would have to be his narration for the doco Earthlings. This documentary is the most comprehensive film ever made about the ways people use animals for food, clothing, experimentation and entertainment. One reviewer described it by saying, "For those who watch Earthlings, the world will never be the same." Find out what other Unleashed members are saying about it, and then watch it for free online here.
Anne Hathaway has also been getting active for animals lately. As well as refusing to eat meat or any animal products, Anne made a stand for animals (literally) by having designer Tom Ford create her custom non-leather boots to wear to the opening of her smash hit Les Mis. You can follow in her animal-friendly footsteps by taking the pledge to avoid fur and leather, and leave animals to wear their own skin!
And third on the list of nature-loving nominees is Jessica Chastain who is up for a Best Actress gong for her movie Zero Dark Thirty. Jessica was named as one of the "100 Most influential People in the World" for 2012, so hopefully she'll be influencing plenty more people to join her in living a cruelty-free life!
It's awesome to see celebs make compassionate decisions like the three here. They can reach such a massive audience with their lifestyle choices; it's bound to help animals. But even if you're not a worldwide star (yet!) you can still make a world of difference for animals by choosing to go veg. Head here to make the best decision of your life, and get tips to help you on your journey!
When I was really young I wanted to have lollies for every meal. I spent all my pocket money on them. I was jealous of Americans because they had Halloween - a whole night dedicated to scoring free lollies. That was until I found out that some lollies out there are actually made with pig skin and cow bones!
I would never have suspected that lollies would ever be made with animal ingredients! You can see for yourself on the pack though - the ingredient is called "gelatine". Gelatine is made from pig skin, cow skin, and the bones of both animals! Gross, isn't it? But look out, 'cos it gets grosser - here's a couple of pictures of the gelatin making process.
The lollies that gelatine is usually found in are the gummy/chewy types like Snakes Alive and Starburst. Animals aren't killed expressly so they can be turned into gelatine - but still, it's pretty rank to know that Gummi Bears have pig skin in them.
There are also plenty of gelatine-free lollies on the average supermarket shelf too. So next time you're deciding what lollies to buy, try one from the list below. And make sure you share them with your friends and fam too, making sure to mention what you know about gelatine ;) So enjoy the lollies - they'll taste good, and you'll feel good!
Chuppa Chups (the non-milky ones)
Pascall Jelly Beans
Natural Confectionary Co. Jelly Beans
Wizz Fizz Sherbet
(p.s. Here's a tip for American kids next Halloween: have two costumes, do two rounds ... receive double the lollies. Thank me later.)
What lollies have I missed on the list?? Let me know in the comments below.
Proving once and for all that people who work at NASA must be pretty brainy ... scientists there have developed over 100 different meals for future manned trips to Mars. And each and every one of those meals is vegan! Maybe it's time to rename Mars from the 'Red Planet' to the 'Green Planet'?
Mars has been seen as the most likely planet for humans to live on in the future. NASA has a whole program dedicated to researching the place, and the plan is to send astronauts up there by the year 2030. At first it might sound like a 'world's worst job' kinda thing. It'll take astronauts 6 months to get there; then they're going to spend 18 months doing 'sciencey' things; then another 6 months to return to Earth. But throw in the all-vegan menu, and pics of the pizza that'll be going with them - and all of a sudden it doesn't seem too bad! Time to start paying attention in science class...
The reason NASA has gone for cruelty-free space food is that it'd be impossible to preserve meat and dairy products on such a long journey. There's also an idea being floated that the Mars astronauts will be able to grow their own greens and eat them. It's common knowledge now that the farming of animals for human consumption is contributing to environmental destruction and wasting water here on Earth, so making the first human contact with a new planet vegan is a pretty good idea I reckon.
There's no word yet if the astronauts will be able to swing through Lord of the Fries to grab takeaway for their trip, but I'm betting that the boffins at NASA will have come up with plenty of meal ideas to keep them happy and healthy while they're up in space. If they need some more inspiration - there's plenty of delicious, cruelty-free eats here.
What food could you absolutely NOT do without if you were sent off to space for 3 years?
It's official: I've got Olympic Fever (or rabies ... I'm waiting for the doc to call with the results)! To help get you in the spirit of the Games, I've put together an international dream team of vegan and vegetarian Olympic athletes. These athletes became stars for their sporting achievements and became heroes for their refusal to eat animals. Now let's introduce the team!
In track and field we have Carl Lewis and Edwin Moses - who have a combined 3 gold medals between them. Oh wait, did I say 3? I meant, 13!! That's right, these guys won more gold medals between the two of them then almost the entire Australian team at the 2008 Games. Moses also set the improbable record of winning 122 races in a row. He didn't lose a single race he started for 9 years, 9 months and 9 days!
Running middle distance is the Flying Finn, Paavo Nurmi who bagged 9 gold medals over three Games. Vegetarian since the age of 12, Paavo has set world records in distances ranging from 1500m all the way up to 20kms, and his 5 gold haul in one Olympics is a track record that still stands.
Over in the pool, we have an Aussie *whistle* *cheer* And not just any Aussie, but the one with the best nickname ever in international sport - Murray Rose ... the Seaweed Streak! Born and raised a vegan, Rose set an amazing 15 world records, and bagged 4 Olympic golds in his stellar career. He claimed very clearly in interviews that it was his vegan lifestyle that helped him achieve such great success.
You don't need to be an Olympian to feel the benefits of cutting meat from your meals, either. People often report fewer pimple problems and glowing skin after going veg; and those looking to shed a few excess kgs might be interested to know that vegetarians have an average body weight up to 20% lower than meat eaters! Even "armchair athletes" can reduce their chances of obesity, diabetes and strokes by being vegetarian (even more true for vegans)!
Keep your eyes open for compassionate competitors at the Games this year (Lizzie Armitstead is one, and she's already won a silver!), and enjoy the events. Check out some of the easy and tasty snacks you can make for in front of the telly here.
CONTENT WARNING: If you're too young to remember when Pokemon first went nuts, or if you're squeamish, you might want to tune out now.
Here's a blog to sink your teeth in to! Umm ... or not. A Serbian chef has released a cookbook/great-conversation-starter on how to cook testicles! Which I assume someone would then actually eat.
"Waiter - there's a hair in my testicle soup! Oh ... no."
I don't want to go into the gory details (because I just ate lunch), but the recipes include a Testicle Pizza, and the book also shows the correct way to "peel a testicle", to help beginner cooks get the balls rolling. Har-har-har.
If you think that's pretty wrong, then you probably don't want to know what goes into meat pies in Australia. (I'll give you a clue - it involves rind, connective tissue, nerves and blood vessels). And don't get me started on hamburgers.
The good news is that it's easy to avoid these mystery meats, and in the process improve your health, help the environment and save animals all at the same time! By going veg, you'll find yourself in the company of people like Leonardo da Vinci, Missy Higgins and the Incredible Hulk! Which would also make a pretty interesting dinner party. Bags sitting next to Missy!
Sportswear giant Puma have scored some big points on the 'animal friendly' score board with news that it's considering giving leather the boot!
In an interview on the weekend, Puma's chairman, Jochen Zeitz said that given the environmental damage caused by raising cattle, "I think eventually we’ll have to look at alternative materials, there’s no question about it. We should eat less meat, all of us, and we should use less leather, I mean that’s reality."
This move would save millions of animals from being abused and killed in the leather industry, not to mention cutting down on greenhouse gases and the toxic chemicals used to preserve dead cow's skin. Hopefully the other big shoe companies will come to the party soon too!
Luckily, Puma isn't the only one in the sporting world that is kicking out cruelty. From sports companies to sports teams ... Last year, the English football team, Forest Green Rovers lived up to the 'green' in their name and went vegetarian! The club announced that "on nutritional advice, it was decided to no longer feed our team red meat for health and performance reasons". But they didn't stop there: "If red meat was not good enough to feed our players, then it wasn’t good enough for our staff, fans and visitors too". And so meat pies and hot-dogs were shown the red card, substituted by mushroom pies, polenta chips and felafel wraps.
I don't know if the new menu at the club can take all the credit, but the Rovers improved from 20th in 2011 to finish 10th in the 2012 season (after meat had been cut)! Even if the new menu can't take credit for all the points on the pitch, the players and fans can take heart in knowing that vegetarians are less likely to be obese or have high levels of artery clogging cholesterol, and enjoy a range of other health benefits - simply by choosing not to eat animals.
Ever go to the footy? What do you think of the food on offer at the games? (Apart from the fact that it's overpriced, I mean). What do you think they should be serving?
ps. When you've got a sec, please send Puma a supportive message to let them know that you think getting rid of leather would be a slam dunk for animals and the environment: email@example.com
I've had vegan pizza and vegan lasagne. I wear vegan shoes and a belt. I've even got some amazing vegan music in my collection! But all I want for my next birthday ... is the same vegan carrot cake that P!nk got for her baby girl's first birthday party last week.
Look at that thing! It's making my mouth water.
P!nk is famous not just for her music and live shows, but also for her willingness to speak up for animals. She's supported campaigns against mulesing, fur, bullfighting and puppy mills. With all that action, it's no surprise that little Willow's first b'day cake was cruelty-free.
While a vegan b'day cake is a pretty sweet pressie just by itself, it's actually a gift that keeps on giving. As well as being 100% kind to animals, avoiding animal products at meal-time has all kinds of positive spin-offs for you. A study just published in the Medical Journal of Australia outlines all the benefits that going veg has. There's less chance of obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease and colorectal cancer. I particularly don't like the sound of that last one.
The study also found no noticeable difference in the growth of vegetarian kids compared to meat-eating kids, which doesn't surprise me one bit. Cough-Billy Simmonds-cough.
So happy birthday little Willow, hope you had a great day! And if there's any cake left over ... I'm on my way.
Florence, a nurse shark in England, has recently joined the growing movement toward eating cruelty free, and now chooses to chow down on only vegetables. Florence must have good taste as she particularly likes celery, cucumber and lettuce, which sounds suspiciously like what I'll be having for lunch today. Maybe we could organise a lunch date?
Florence made the switch to vegetarian eating after surgery to remove a rusted hook from her jaw. Perhaps she's wised up to the dangers involved in eating meat? (ok... ok... the truth is that Florence will in fact need to start eating meat again to be healthy, but fortunately, you and I definitely don't!) After all, carp have been reported to change their behaviour after an experience with hooks, and trout can remember how to avoid fishing nets months after their first experience with one. And I thought Nemo was pretty smart because he could talk!
Fish experience a whole range of the same sensations that other animals do. A hook in the mouth hurts. Suffocating to death is as awful as it sounds for us. And when fish are brought to the surface too quickly, the change in pressure causes eyes and organs to explode. More and more people are realising the stress and pain caused to fish by recreational and commercial fishing.
The underwater world really is an amazing place. There's sharks who can bark like dogs; tiny creatures that light up whole waves; and fish using rocks to open clam shells. If you want to take a small step to protect some of our marine mates, you don't need to buy them tix to an AC/DC concert (good luck, they sell out in like 8 minutes flat). Just head here to join others in taking a stand against the sale of shark fins in Australia.
Here's another reason why people would rethink their dinner plans: The NSW Food Authority has just finished a review of all the domestic slaughterhouses in NSW. Guess how many of those places needed to be told to clean up their act?
a) none of them
b) some of them
c) most of them
d) ALL of them!
If you guessed "All of them" ... you were right! Animals were observed being mistreated in every domestic abattoir across the state. The review found that slaughtering staff didn't always know what they were doing (what the...??!) and that some animals were not being stunned properly before being killed. That means they may have still been conscious when their throats were cut :(
The review started after nightmarish footage was taken at Hawkesbury Valley Meat Processors by Animals Australia member society, Animal Liberation. But hey, this is hardly the first shocking footage to come out of a slaughterhouse recently ... remember the pigs being stabbed in the eyes at a Victorian slaughterhouse late last year? If you've already seen it then I'd say you probably do remember it.
The reality is that what goes on in slaughterhouses on a daily basis is ugly -- even when no laws are being broken. And it's so well hidden from public eyes that we can never really be sure how an individual animal on the supermarket shelf was treated. The only way to be certain that animals aren't suffering for our food is also the simplest way: take meat off the menu. The animals will thank you for it ;)
If you were hosting a party, which of the following things would you probably NOT organise? A guest list, food, music ... or severed pigs heads? It looks like Melbourne company NEUW Jeans decided, "what the heck ... let's get all of 'em!" If you don't believe me then just check out the photos.
I pretty much live in my jeans, but these hipsters have kinda put me off denim somewhat. The dead pigs, partygoers stressing out piglets - for once I'm actually HAPPY I didn't get invited to a party.
Well, the photos pretty much speak for themselves with this one but something just struck me. I wonder if the people at the party had seen the footage of just how terrible things can get at an abattoir. If they had, I doubt they would have been in the mood for much partying.
If you want to let NEUW Jeans know that cruelty is never in fashion -- then leave a comment on their facebook or twitter. **UPDATE** Since posting this blog, it seems that NEUW have not only removed disturbing pics of butchered pigs from facebook, they may also have turned off their public comment feed. So, if you're having trouble leaving them a message, never fear -- click here.
p.s. If you want to see pigs being treated the RIGHT way, then you might want to check out the farm sanctuaries at Edgar's Mission and Brightside. They're the REAL party animals. Har-har-har...
I always love hearing about how people got into animal rights. For me, it was discovering how animals are raised for food. Lots of people just always loved animals. But how can someone go from being scared of animals to rescuing them and campaigning for them?
That's exactly what happened to New York activist, Eddie Lama. To find out how someone can make such an incredible transformation, check out this great doco (called "The Witness") about his inspiring story.
(Btw, you can watch the full doco online here. So once you've checked out the trailer below, grab some popcorn and a friend to watch the full film! And just be warned that while most of the doco is inspiring and positive, there are a few graphic scenes.)
Do you want to know what the first moments of freedom look like? Check out this amazing video of 8 lucky turkeys, who were rescued from a factory farm, seeing their new home at Edgar's Mission Farm Sanctuary for the first time.
Isn't that just gorgeous! And to think these birds started their lives in factory farms. I hate to say it, but these sorts of happy endings don't happen for most birds. Just check out how most turkeys in Australia have to live.. (these photos from Animal Liberation ACT were from a recent investigation at a turkey factory farm):
Like chickens, turkeys in factory farms are crammed into sheds by the thousands and have to live in their own waste for all of their short and miserable lives. Can you believe that the birds served up on Christmas tables across the country this weekend were likely to be less than 17 weeks old when they were killed?! (to put that in perspective, turkeys would naturally live for about 10 years)
I read this amazing story a little while ago about, Lydia, a turkey at Farm Sanctuary in the US, who was nicknamed the 'hugging turkey'. If she saw you sit down, she'd race over and before your bum had even hit the ground she'd be in your lap with her neck stretched over your shoulder for a cuddle.
Surely there's something a little wrong about eating someone who just wants a hug?!
Paul McCartney said "If slaughterhouses had glass walls everyone would be a vegetarian." Check out this recent footage from a Victorian slaugtherhouse and let me know if you agree:
I cringed every time one of those pigs was stabbed in the eye with the stunner... and when that desperate pig was beaten to death with a sledgehammer -- shocking! So shocking in fact that when Animals Australia gave this footage to the authorities, the slaughterhouse was shut down within 24hrs.
But what really haunted me was seeing the fear in the pigs' eyes, huddled together in the corner of their pen; and seeing them squeal in terror as their companions were killed in front of them. Because while that stabbing with the stunner may be illegal (and was part of the reason the slaugtherhouse was shut down), there are no laws that can protect animals from the fear those pigs suffered in their final moments.
The investigator who took this footage, 'Kate', also described something she couldn't capture on video: another pig who escaped and ran into the scalding tank (a pit of boiling hot water, used to remove hair from the dead pigs). What a terrible way to go :(
This is just one slaughterhouse -- one that also killed free-range animals and was regularly inspected by authorities. It certainly makes you wonder what might be going on behind closed doors in other slaughterhouses!
So what do you think? Is Paul McCartney right when he says "If slaugtherhouses had glass walls everyone would be vegetarian"?
Remember, even if you're already rockin the cruelty-free lifestyle, you can extend the Veg Challenge (or any other Be Kind to Animals Week initiatives) to your friends and family, neighbours, workmates, teachers, etc. The more the merrier (and the better off animals will be for it)!
To get you in the mood for Be Kind to Animals Week, here's a gorgeous video of two amazing inhabitants from Edgar's Mission:
Leave a comment below – What will you be doing to be kind to animals next week?
Even Olivia knows the world needs to pull its socks up when it comes to protecting animals! If a 7 year old knows it, surely adults can get it too right?
Sadly, Australasia isn't going so well in the biodiversity department. I mean, we have loads of amazing species of flaura and fauna, the trouble is that according to conservation experts, our native plants and animals are disappearing faster than anywhere else on the planet.
So while we scramble to save the pandas of China, the Orangutans of Borneo and the Bengal tigers of India, it's also good to know what we can do in our own backyard to save the bilbies, potoroos, frogs, orange-bellied parrots, spiny skinks, sheathtail bats, sharks, burrowing crayfish, even native snails and bees that make Australia amazing but are critically endangered. (I've only skimmed the surface here – check out this list!)
Rainforests, scrub and woodlands generally have a rich variety of animals and plants, but that quickly disappears when you cut down the trees! And according to the UN, livestock production is one of the key contributors to deforestation, species extinction - not to mention land, water and air pollution.
So it would seem that going veg can save more lives than just the one on the plate! Sounds like a win-win to me! More animals safe from extinction and more yummy food in our bellies :)
Einstein said "Nothing will benefit human health and increase chances for survival of life on Earth as much as the evolution to a vegetarian diet." But it doesn't take a genius to see we need to do more to protect biodiversity. And what better place to start than with what we eat? Aren't you hungry for change?
I always get a kick out of discovering new songs about animal rights and so just wanted to share a beautiful song I discovered today with you: "Human Eyeballs on Toast", by Peter Broderick. I thought the lyrics were very thoughtful:
American singer/songwriter/composer, Peter Broderick says he has been "back and forth vegetarian" his whole life, and picked up Eating Animals by Jonathon Safran Foer to try and work out once and for all where he stood. He says the book gave him "some really clear answers" and inspired/outraged by what he'd read he wrote this song from the point of view of animals in factory farms.
This is from Broderick: "I find the animal agriculture industry (especially in the USA) to be deeply, deeply disturbing and incredibly sad, and this song is a product of that sadness."
If you want to know more about how animals in Australian factory farms are treated, you could start by clicking here.
So I thought I'd share a little something with you:
Funny, right?! And it's enough to make someone want to Pledge to be Veg, isn't it! Which would be a great way to help yourself this World Health Day -- not to mention improving the health of animals and the planet we live on!
Whip out the candles and get ready to turn out the lights, 'cause this Saturday is Earth Hour. At 8:30pm, people across Australia (and around the world) will flick off their switches to shed light on climate change.
There's really no denying our planet is sick: climate change, species extinction, water shortages, pollution... the list just goes on and on
The theme for this year's Earth Hour is 'Beyond the Hour'. So, 'beyond the hour' what can you do to help heal our planet? Well personally, I'd prescribe that people take action for the planet 3 times a day: breakfast, lunch and dinner! I'll let New York Times food writer Mark Bittman explain:
"We have to take matters into our own hands. Not only by advocating for a better diet for everyone… but by improving our own. And that happens to be quite easy: less meat, less junk, more plants. It's a simple formula."
Einstein also put it well: "Nothing will benefit human health and increase the chances for survival of life on Earth as much as the evolution to a vegetarian diet." Which also reminds me of this video...
The new year is the perfect time to turn over a new leaf. So we hope that the animals have made it onto your resolution list! If not, then we've got a few suggestions for how you could make a world of difference for animals and the planet in the new year:
Pledge to take animals off your plate. All animals - cats, dogs, pigs, lambs and even fish! - are individuals with feelings and their own desires and as the actor James Cromwell said, "I don't eat anyone who would run, swim, or fly away if he could."
If you think animals rock, but need a little added incentive to
take that next step, then this film should give you the extra motivation you're looking for:
Already meat-free and lovin' it? Great! Then how about taking the next step and giving dairy and eggs the flick?
Sadly, the milk and egg industries aren't without their body count - and it's the babies of these industries who are the first casualties. About 12 million day old male chicks and a million unwanted baby calves from the dairy industry are discarded and killed as 'waste products' each year. And even dairy cows and egg laying hens don't get to live a full life. When they are no longer productive enough to be profitable, they too find themselves on the way to be slaughtered.
So you're meat-free, don't do dairy and set a good eggsample by not eating eggs? Awesome! Then next year make your voice heard, even louder, for the animals!
So that's our tips for the new year. Now... what are your new year's resolutions?
It seems even Jamie Oliver thought World Veg Week was worth celebrating! The Naked Chef has announced plans to publish "one big massive, mammoth" vegetarian cookbook! I can hear my pots and pans rattling as we speak!
This will be his 17th cookbook and the reason it's going to be so huge is because it incorporates a lot of recipes from his previous 16 books which he says are around 60-65% vegetarian anyway. Who knew? I had a quick squiz at his website, and sure enough the list of vegetarian recipes was miles longer than the others – Nice one Jamie!
According to Jamie, "Vegetarian as a general concept is a brilliant thing. We’ve got to stop eating so much meat. We are eating too much meat.”
We most certainly are. Worse still, is that while innocent animals are paying the ultimate price for our appetites, we are harming the planet and compromising our own health at the same time. So the more veg cookbooks, the better!
I hope this new cookbook flies off the shelves Harry Potter style, outselling all Jamie's other books. That might prove that he could ditch the meat for good and keep everyone (including the animals) happy!
It is incredible to think that if I brought a little piglet home and named her (come on, we've all thought about it!) she would learn that name in no time and come running every time I called her…Ruby! Olive! Doris! (I can't choose). But studies have shown this to be true, meaning a pig could potentially be as wonderful a pet as a pooch!
But footage from a recent doco from Animal Equity in Spain proves beyond doubt that we still have a very long way to go in giving all pigs the quality of life we afford our gorgeous companion animals. This rare glimpse into their world is recommended viewing to anyone who still eats pork, bacon, ham, crackling … pigs basically! (Recommended viewing for those that don't eat pigs is here)
Pretty shocking stuff, right? What's more shocking is that this is happening all over the world – Australia included. Every year, in Australian factory farms, over 4 million scared piglets endure painful procedures like having their teeth cut, and tails sliced off -- all without pain relief.Those 'farrowing crates' that can be seen in the vid are used in piggeries across Australia too.
Did you know that pigs wag their tails when they're happy, just like dogs? Well, scientists believe that pigs are actually smarter than dogs. Now can you imagine if someone did these sorts of things to your dog (or your cat)? You'd make sure they saw the inside of a prison cell for a mighty long time right?
Even though these awful practices are still legal in Australia, pigs are slowly, but surely gaining a stronger voice as more and more people (including big players like Coles) are beginning to wake up to the horrors of factory farming.
But what can you do to ease their suffering RIGHT NOW?Don't eat pigs! It really is the easiest and simplest way for every person to help pigs straight away. And if you've already taken piglets off your plate (I love you, you're ace!), try to speak up and make their voice louder every chance you get!
PS Click here for further info on the effects of your meat free diet!
Lady Gaga has taken the cake for revolting this week by appearing on the cover of Men's Vogue in Japan wearing nothing but a bikini made of raw meat. *gag*
Ok, I know Gaga has built her fame on her outrageous fashion, but draping yourself in the flesh of butchered animals is just tasteless attention seeking. In fact, Miss Gore-gore looks about as ugly here as is the reality of how that meat-kini came to be dead. But pictures speak louder than words, so I'll let you decide which is uglier.
What do you think? Which is uglier Lady Gore-gore, or the reality of what happened to the cows she's wearing?
What did you have to eat on Monday? I hope it was tasty, green and animal friendly ;)
I'm happy to say that the people of San Francisco and Washington DC are being encouraged to eat green every Monday! The city councils of both these US cities have decided to beef up their environmental stance, by cutting out the cow (and chicken, and pig... you get the idea), and promoting Meat Free Mondays.
The problem is that most people don't realise that eating meat is about as green as hunting wildlife in an SUV! If you've watched Meat the Truth then you know that raising livestock produces more greenhouse gases than all the world's transport combined. Not to mention being a major contributor to species extinction, scarcity of water and all sorts of pollution. I mean, run off fertilisers and excrement from animal industries was killing plenty of wildlife in the Gulf of Mexico well before BP botched things up. (ever heard of a dead zone?)
So it's exciting to see cities encouraging their citizens to eat for a healthier planet every Monday. San Fran and Washington join the Baltimore school system, the original Hard Rock Cafe (in London) and the Belgian city of Ghent in promoting a meat free day once a week to save the planet. Sydney City Council also gave the campaign a plug last year (fingers crossed they'll join these others in officially adopting the initiative).
UPDATE: And now Cape Town has become the first African city to promote a meat-free day each week as well. Yay!
And the story gets all the more intriguing/amusing... in a flirty twitter/YouTube conversation between the Old Spice Man and Alyssa Milano (also a vegetarian), Alyssa has challenged the Old Spice Man to donate $100,000 to wildlife rescue in the Gulf of Mexico oil clean up. Fingers crossed he mans up to the challenge!
I just learned that in Taiwan if a person wants to thank Buddha for granting a wish, they buy a stranger a vegetarian meal. It's not unusual for people to also do this just to gain peace of mind. Pretty cool huh?
Well, one mysterious stranger on a motorbike has gone one better than this (or should that be 9,999 better?). He handed over the equivalent of $17,000 to the owner of Taipei's Lotus Heart Vegetarian Restaurant, asked him to feed the public and rode off into the sunset! His peace of mind must be through the roof!
This is enough money for 10,000 vegetarian meals! Restaurant owner, Hsu Min-long, has already given free veg meals to low-income families and children from the local orphanage, but there is still so much money left that he will cook free veg meals from 11am to 9pm for eight consecutive Sundays!
What a fabulous idea from a person who must have the most peaceful mind in all of Taiwan now. I can't think of many more effective ways to spend a lazy 17 grand, than by having people taste for themselves how amazing veg food can be and maybe sticking with it for life!
But then, you don't need 17 grand to share great veg food with friends. So why not score some good karma for yourself by cooking up a veg feast for your friends?
Oh, how I wish that compassionate biker and best pal of Buddha would ride into Adelaide and share the love between Joy Discovery, Bliss Organic or Zenhouse Yum Cha so I could eat delicious veg food for free!
What would you do with a spare $17,000? Which restaurant do you wish the anonymous giver would visit?
So I just went out and saw a great movie. I didn't feel much like eating the popcorn though (I'll tell you why in a sec). Believe me, you MUST see Food, Inc. SO it's lucky that we've got 5 double passes to give away!
I don't think I need to tell you how cruel factory farms are. In fact, I'm sure you tell other people about this all the time. And no doubt you've come across at least one person who seemed not to care. Well, maybe they'd care if they knew they might literally be eating sh!t!
I've had the misfortune of visiting a feedlot.I saw how they pile up the dung in the middle of each pen to provide – get this – "enrichment for the cows"! Many of the cows I've seen in feedlots were caked in each others faeces from nose to tail, so it's really no surprise that some of that finds its stinky way into the meat people eat. I know... YUCK! It sounds like I'm making this up, I wish I was. But this is actually a reality! In fact, Food, Inc. features a 2 year old, who died after eating a hamburger infected with E.coli from traces of cow dung in the meat.
Oh yeah, the popcorn. I learnt today that if the massive amount of corn grown isn't used for livestock, it's used for nearly everything else. As high-fructose corn syrup, you can find it in cakes, cheese, yoghurt, Coca-Cola, bread, orange juice, even in batteries and charcoal. They grow too much corn, because of government subsidies and so they end up putting it in charcoal?!? Don't they realise there are people starving in Africa!? And here we all are wondering why people make corny puns, we can't help it - there's an excess of corn to go round!
Even if you've already made the healthy switch to being veg or vegan, there is still so much to learn about the food you consume. There are moments in this film that will have you throwing that popcorn at the screen in frustration, but it's an excellent film and well worth checking out!
If you care about animals, people, the environment or yourself, this film is a must see. And here's how you could WIN a free double pass: Leave a comment below to tell us what makes you hungry for change and you could win! The competition ends next Monday (31/05/10), so be quick if you don't want to miss out!
UPDATE: Congrats to the winners who each get a double pass to see this amazing movie. Well done to sarahwithanh27, Carly, Sammy, Sabavana and Nikkikats. Enjoy watching Food, Inc. (with or without the popcorn)!
I don't know about you but I've always steered clear of 'shoot em up' computer games. Especially ones that glorify killing innocent animals like in Big Buck Hunter. There's one of them at my local pizza place. Nothing turns me off more than seeing someone order a meatlovers pizza before putting a dollar in that gory hunting game to simulate slaughtering deer while they wait for their factory farmed ham to cook on a doughy base. It doesn't make you look tough, boys.
So you can imagine my sheer delight when I met …Tofu Hunter!!
You can only progress through this game by meeting your tofu quota,that's a lesson for life I say! Nabbing the soy milk buys you extra time and you get bonuses for seeking out tofu dogs and seitan birds. Who needs a dietician with messages like this from tofu hunters?
It's definitely a 'shoot em up' game, but to me it does represent something more. Because each time someone hunts out the tofu or veggie dogs in the supermarket and buys that over meat, it's a little step closer to ending the misery of animals who are confined for life on factory farms.
And as for my local pizza place, imagine someone ordering a vegie pizza then shooting tofu while they wait …let me hear you ladies, now that's manly!! Give me a Tofu Hunter any day!
So, you may have seen in the news that Australia is lifting its ban on beef imports from mad-cow countries. Let me tell you why this makes me mad:
Mad-cow disease is an illness affecting cattle - caused by feeding cows to cows. Nasty stuff!
But it gets even nastier! If humans eat this infected meat, it can cause the fatal disease, called Variant Creutzfeldt Jakob Disease (you know with a name that long it's gotta be bad!). Sure, these countries claim to have the all clear from mad-cow disease now, but any country that used to feed cows to cows doesn't sound like a smart place to import beef from (not that killing cows sounds like a good idea to begin with). Anyway, while turning cows into cannibals before eating them sounds pretty mad, we've got some home-grown nastiness to worry about - a not-so-little thing called factory farming.
Packing animals into overcrowded sheds, where they may have to live in their own filth without fresh air, natural light or exercise is bound to make them sick. So animals in factory farms are often fed a diet of antibiotics just to keep them alive long enough to be killed. The problem with this? Viruses evolve and antibiotics don't. Factory farms are the perfect breeding ground for antibiotic-resistant super bugs. That's right; diseases not even modern medicine can cure - *cough* Bird Flu *cough* Swine Flu *cough*
And while it's gross - what goes in must come out. The major problem: The huge amount of waste produced by factory farms is not treated, like human waste is. In the case of pigs, it is channelled into massive, open-air cesspits. These "lagoons" (as the industry calls them) can pollute the soil and underground water supplies, and run-off can wreak havock on local waterways - not to mention the health risks to the local community!
But, no need to worry! Like a wizard, I have the perfect solution for you! And while you're at it, you'll be helping heaps of others in a big way. What is it, I hear you chanting? What do I have to do? What must I eat? No, no, no! It's much simpler than that! It's what you don't have to eat - animals!
Not eating animals reduces your risk of getting heart disease, cancer, stroke and diabetes. Don't eat animals - get a longer life expectancy - it's that easy! Your Mum's been telling you to eat your vegetables forever, so what better way to make her happy?
Sound good? Great! Then click here to take the pledge to be veg and give the cows one less reason to be mad ;)
So the Winter Olympics are coming to a close. I don't know about you, but I keep watching The Games thinking how much fun it would be to try some of those sports out. I think I've decided the skeleton is for me :-P
Anyway, with one very impressive run down the halfpipe and a gold medal around her neck, Torah Bright has become a household name. Not to mention scoring herself a place on a stamp. Top marks to her.
But I wanted to take a moment to tip my hat to the girl who won the silver medal in the halfpipe, Hannah Teter. This warm-hearted winter Olympian is a passionate vegetarian, and has said: “My plant-based diet has opened up more doors to being an athlete. It’s a whole other level that I’m elevating to. I stopped eating animals about a year ago, and it’s a new life. I feel like a new person, a new athlete.”
And for this veggie powered athlete her compassion doesn't stop at her plate. When she's not busting out 360's on the halfpipe Hannah is busy endorsing eco-friendly sponsors, raising funds to help homeless AIDS victims in Kenya, donating her prize money to the Haiti relief appeal, and speaking out against the Canadian seal slaughter.
Way to go Hannah! I may not have a gold medal to give you, but you definitely deserve a gold star for your efforts.
Some time back, the UN released a very revealing report that revealingly revealed that our habit of eating meat is contributing more to global warming than all the world's trains, planes and automobiles combined. Yep – they say a whopping 18 percent of all the world's greenhouse gas emissions come from livestock.
It seems that back home our pollies might have missed this memo. While other countries are looking at ways to ween their citizens off meat, yesterday our Federal opposition spokesperson for agriculture (that is, the guy who's supposed to know a lot about agriculture), said he reckoned that killing all the feral camels in Australia would be a great way to help save the planet. WTF!?
He says that shooting one million of these unfortunate animals would be like taking 3 percent of Australia's cars off the road. That left me wondering which animals will need to be taken out next to curb the other 97%?
This just in! Al Gore (a.k.a. “Mr Global Warming” himself) has finally confronted the biggest inconvenient truth of all: that meat-eating is responsible for much of the world's most devastating environmental problems: "It's absolutely correct that the growing meat intensity of diets around the world is one of the issues connected to this global crisis - not only because of the CO2 involved, but also because of the water consumed in the process … You could add in the health consequences as well".
It's obvious when you think about it, isn't it? When you need to feed about 10 kilos of food to a cow just to produce merely one kilogram of ‘beef' (and let's not forget the millions of methane-producing burps and farts let off by the global cattle herd every single day), eating green to save the environment is a no-brainer.
Strangely it took the world's most renowned environmental campaigner three years since producing “An Inconvenient Truth” to realise that you can't be a meat-eating environmentalist. And for some reason, Gore stops short of leaving all animals off his plate, saying that he has now “cut back sharply”. A good step in the right direction for sure, but I guess those of us who care more about animals and the planet than the taste of dead flesh will still need to offset Gore by eating green every day (and really, with food this good – who wouldn't want to!?)
No doubt Gore's new appreciation for environmentally sustainable foods will also help his waste line and keep him campaigning a good few years longer :)
And on that note, Yahoo! News wants to know if you'd go veg to help save the planet.Please vote yes!
Don’t you wish you had a captive audience to discuss cruelty free living with? I know I do! If you’re still in shool, then you’re lucky enough to have that captive audience every time you do a class presentation. (And I can’t say I’m not a little jealous!)
I recently had the pleasure of reminiscing on my school days when I was asked to do a talk at a school in Caroline Springs. Hayley Walker an awesome year 11 student organised to do a presentation to her class about the treatment of animals and why she is vegan. Not only did she have good props (like our Darren Cordeux video on factory farming and a battery cage), but Hayley and her mother spent the Sunday afternoon beforehand cooking up loads of vegan food that she could bring in to class.
I met Hayley a few years ago whilst tabling at the Taste of Chaos concert in Melbourne and I handed her a leaflet and wrote "Be cool, go veg." And she did! Two years later she is a star activist, who is talking to her class about the treatment of animals, and handing out lots of delicious vegan food (including felafels, chocolate mousse, jelly, cupcakes with oreo frosting, rice paper rolls, etc).
As someone who has to do a lot of public speaking, it's easy to forget how hard it is to take that first step. So you can see why Hayley deserves to be in my hero's section on myspace for bravely standing up in front of her whole class, and talking about society's treatment of animals.
If you’re still in school, then make the most of class presentations and inform your classmates about something you care about. As school is a learning environment, it’s an ideal place to do such a talk, and like Hayley, show people how great the alternatives to eating animals are. Looking back on how great her presentation was, I wish that I had used my time at school more effectively to help animals. When I was walking out of the school, I asked Hayley "What's next on your agenda?" and she said "Veganising my canteen." Niiiiiiiiiiiiiiiice.
If you're planning a talk at your school and have questions, send us an email. We’re always happy to help! Or if you want it straight from the horse's mouth (so to speak), send Hayley a message and ask her a few questions about what she did to organise the talk. No doubt you’ll get good grades if you’re speaking about something you know and care about and who knows you might even score some kudos on the Unleashed blog!
Have you done any school presentations on animal issues? How did it go? Have you got any tips for others? Leave a comment below…
While saving animals doesn't often appear at the top of governments' agendas, it is starting to sneak in by way of "Green Living"! In a recent newsletter from Sydney City Council I noticed they are promoting Meat Free Mondays.
Meat Free Mondays is a global campaign encouraging people to help curb climate change by having at least one meat-free day per week. If you think this sounds like a great idea, then you're in good company! The campaign already has the support of Paul McCartney, Richard Branson, Moby and the head of the International Panel on Climate Change (ie. the guy who advises the UN on all things climatey).
Governments promoting vegetarianism really makes me all goose-pimply with excitement. And this story gets better! Cause Sydney's not the only city either. In May, the Belgian city of Ghent launched a brilliant initiative to urge the whole city to go vegetarian every Thursday.
If you think Sydney Council is on a winning idea, then why not write to your school/uni/workplace to encourage them to combat climate change too and adopt Meat Free Mondays. Just think of the lives saved if they do!
So whenever you go shopping to stock up on mouth-watering cruelty-free food, do you spend more time than you'd like trying to ignore the icky meat, egg, and dairy-laden products that clutter the supermarket shelves in your quest to find those delightful dairy-free chocolate bars, meat-free mince and eggless mayonnaise? I know I do, especially when I visit a new supermarket that I don't know very well!
Don't you just wish shops would stick big, eye-catching signs up quickly drawing your attention to all the amazing vegetarian and vegan goodies that they sell? Well, one supermarket in Adelaide has done just that! Yep, apparently Foodworks in Glenelg have figured out that more and more people are wanting to fill their shopping trolleys without contributing to animal cruelty and environmental destruction and so they have posted big signs directing shoppers to the amazing cruelty-free food that they stock. Woot!!
Tofutti cheese, pig-friendly 'bacon', meat-free schnitzels, vegan whipped cream, vegetarian 'prawns', to-die-for dairy-free icecream ... yum!! :-) If you're in Adelaide make sure you check this place out on Jetty Rd, Glenelg. And if not, post a comment below and tell everyone where your favourite veg-friendly shop is!
There are around 14 million egg-laying hens in Australia. That's a lot of birds! ... and all of them are female. So have you ever wondered what happened to all the males?
Male chicks can't produce eggs ... so the egg industry doesn't want them. They don't grow fast or large enough to be profitable to be raised for meat, so ... what then?
Well a new investigation by US based group, Mercy for Animals exposes the dirty little secret the egg industry doesn't want you to know. Brace yourself, cause the answer isn't pretty...
You might hope that Australian standards would be better. But sadly that's not the case. Every year, the Australian egg industrygrinds up alive or gasses to death an estimated 10 million male chicks. For these animals their first day in the world is also their last. They are picked up roughly by their fragile wings, tossed into disposal chutes and hauled off to their death.
Sounds more like a horror movie than reality, doesn't it. But sadly this is not only a reality, it's legal and is standard practice in Australia across all egg laying systems.
So what can you do about it? Well for starters you can cast your vote with your plate, simply don't eat eggs! And please join me in letting the Australian Egg Corporation know that you won't support their appalling disregard for animal welfare.
So if you're like many Australian families, you may well have a copy of the CSIRO Total Wellbeing Diet (as my parents do). This 240 page book could have easily been summarised in one word – "meat" because that's pretty much the main ingredient in every meal.
But what you may not know is that CSIRO scientists (the good guys) discovered that high meat consumption is linked with bowel cancer and presented this to the CSIRO board (bad guys) in April 2006. Yet in October 2006 the CSIRO ran a second print of their bestselling book, despite the fact the book claimed "Studies have shown that fresh red meat (beef and lamb) is not a significant risk factor for colorectal cancer." LIES! So basically the book was reprinted and continues to be sold despite containing completely misleading information about the risks of cancer and meat. Not to mention the fact it promotes a diet that is extremely harmful to the environment!
Thankfully there is a good bloke out there by the name of Geoff Russell making sure that this blatant spread of misinformation does not go unheard, and he's written his own book: CSIRO Perfidy. Now I'll be honest, I didn't know the definition of 'perfidy' before I heard about this book, but when you read the definition, you'll see that there's no better word to describe the actions of the CSIRO.
Perfidy: –noun, 1. deliberate breach of faith or trust; faithlessness; treachery: perfidy that goes unpunished.
So the good news is you can pick up a copy of CSIRO Perfidy from the Unleashed store. I recommend anyone whose parents have a copy of the CSIRO Total Wellbeing Diet to buy a copy of this book for them, to give them the full story. As Professor Peter Singer (Philosopher, Author of Animal Liberation, Hero) said "Read this book: it may save your life. And if enough people read it, it just might save the planet.''
What was in your lunch box today? How would veggie pizza with whole grain crust, rice and beans, veggie subs, and lentil sauce with pasta sound for lunch? According to the US School Nutrition Association that's the veg options that are most popular at US schools. I'll have one of each thanks!
Their recent survey found that almost 2 out of 3 US schools have regular veg options on offer. I don't know about you but my school tuckshop had mostly meat pies, sausage rolls and sweets (ok! so you won't hear me complaining about sweets :P).
It's about time we had more veg options in schools here as well! And it seems I'm not the only one who thinks so. The World Cancer Research Fund is now urging parents not to pack their kids' lunchboxes with ham and other processed meats. This follows a report by them earlier this year in which they concluded: "The scientific evidence linking processed meat [ie. ham, bacon, salami, etc] and bowel cancer shows that the best amount to eat is none at all." Go WCRF!
What's your school's veg tuckshop selection like? Might be a good time to suggest they add a few more options!
There are heaps of reasons not to eat chicken – for your health, for the environment or for the animals. For me, the fact that chicks are forced to grow much faster than their bodies can cope, with some dying from organ failure and others starving to death, unable to lift their own body weight, was always reason enough not to eat them. But now I think this one takes the cake...
Number one reason not to eat chicken: Because your housemate might just douse you in boiling oil!
Yep, the Herald Sun has reported that a dispute over Nando's chicken has ended in a man having boiling oil poured over him in his sleep. Sure, I'd be pretty annoyed if you ate all of my delicious mock chicken, but as far as I’m concerned violence has no place on or off my plate.
So anyway, what vegan treat do you find so delicious it’s just impossible to share?
It was only a matter of time – raising animals for food in filthy overcrowded sheds was bound to come and bite us in the backside, but when Swine Flu broke out in Mexico we didn't expect to see it in Australia any time soon. And before we knew it, we became one of the nations with the greatest swine flu count per capita. And now it's been found on a factory farm in NSW – the very place it originated (ie. a factory farm in Mexico).
Pork representatives are trying to convince us that it's still safe to eat pig products, but really, was it ever safe?!
If you ask the World Cancer Research Fund: "The scientific evidence linking processed meat [ie. ham, bacon, salami, etc] and bowel cancer shows that the best amount to eat is none at all."
Eating pigs is not only dangerous for our health, but the conditions they are raised in (confined in cages surrounded by their own waste products) is just a breeding ground for disease – a disaster waiting to happen.
Anyway, who's the one telling us it's safe? It's the Australian Pork Industry (surprise!) – the same people who make a buck off selling it. I kind of see it like a thief telling you it's safe to leave your bag with him.
Personally, I'm content to chow down on my FLT (facon, lettuce and tomato sandwich) and leave the pigs in peace.
Ever wondered what the Terminator might have for breakfast before a hard day out .. um .. terminating? Well wonder no more! The peaceable folk over at the Pentagon have assured us all that their latest military robot is a vegetarian. This announcement came after rumours that their self-sufficient robot may eat human corpses.
"We completely understand the public's concern about futuristic robots feeding on the human population, but that is not our mission," said Harry Schoell, the chief executive of Cyclone Power Technologies - one of the companies behind the machine. Phew! I'll sleep a little easier tonight, knowing we don't have to also worry about robots with a taste for flesh.
Dr Finkelstein (no joke that's his name) of Robotic Technology Inc. - another of the companies working on the project - explained that EATR (aka Energetically Autonomous Tactical Robot) has in-built sensors to determine if something is animal, vegetable or mineral. The robot's diet mainly consists of bark, twigs and other plant matter.
Well I think I speak for everybody when I say that I'm pretty peeved off with all the deceptive advertising that goes in to promoting animal products, although Meat and Livestock Australia take the crown for their new dodgy ad with Sam Neill.
In the new ad Sam explains to his orang-utan friend Dennis the supposed importance of eating red meat to make your brain evolve. I highly doubt that Einstein, Da Vinci or Pythagoras – all vegetarians – would agree with Sam on this one. In fact about the most intelligent thing Sam does in the whole ad is dance like a fool.
To me, it really is showing a sign of the times that selling meat is getting tougher and tougher as people learn about the cruelty, the environmental devastation, and the health impacts of consuming it. So no wonder they stoop to new lows with every new ad they come out with.
Yesterday, Jill Singer of the Herald Sun bit back at MLA's shoddy advertising with her scathing article Choking on a red meat message. Jill accurately points out that the intention of MLA isn't to look after your interests and promote good health, it's to sell more meat. The best line in this whole article though, is this: 'The statement that red meat is an essential part of our diet is a lie. It is a more essential part of a maggot's diet than a human's.'
Take home message for the day – MLA, you got burned!
Who wants to move to Belgium? I have to admit the thought crossed my mind when I heard that last month the Belgian city of Ghent declared Thursday a vegetarian day for the entire city!
In an effort to combat the impact of the livestock industry on global warming, the city has invited its 230,000 inhabitants to help the planet by eating green every Thursday. The city will be providing free veggie lunch snacks, vegetarian cooking classes and general info on healthy eating. And best of all they will be distributing 90,000 free veggie street maps to guide people to Ghent's vegetarian restaurants. Woo!
According to the UN the livestock industry is responsible for 18% of all greenhouse gas emissions. That's more than all the planes, trains and automobiles in the world combined! To me, that sounds like reason enough to join Ghent in making Thursday (and every other day) a vegetarian day.
If you think Ghent are on a winning idea you might want to write to your local council and suggest they follow Ghent's lead.
This doesn’t just have to be a restaurant; it can be a store, market, café… ANY place that is vegetarian/vegan friendly that you love. Surely everyone can think of 5 little places they’ve been to that fit this category!?!
This is turning into such a great resource, I know I’m going to be checking out a lot of the places I didn’t know existed. So take 5 minutes to spread the word about hot vego spots in your town and help us kick ass for the animals!
Thanks so much to everyone who has already posted a guide, we have raised $300 so far!!! Just 20 more guides needed to reach the $500 goal!!!
So over the past few weeks we have been warned of the deadly outbreak of "Swine Flu" in Mexico that is now spreading around the world. There has been much debate about whether we are treating the pandemic too seriously or not seriously enough, and more importantly whether it really came from pigs and if pork is safe to eat. The name was even officially changed from “Swine Flu” to “Influenza A (H1N1)” to try and re-assure consumers that eating pig products is safe. But if you are like me and countless others who have been writing to newspapers and reading up on the situation, I bet you've been remembering the panic when bird flu broke out and thinking "when will they get it, factory farming is a recipe for disaster!"
Where the Swine Flu outbreak started, in Mexico, is just 5 miles from an "industrial pig facility" which "processes" close to a million pigs a year and is jointly owned by the world's largest pig "processor", Smithfield Foods (Isn't it ridiculous that these places are referred to as "facilities" rather than "farms", why don't they just be totally honest and call them prisons?) (you can take a tour of this 'facility' with Sharon Churcher, here). Smithfield Foods says the outbreak was not a result of its facility and that none of its pigs have the virus. But Smithfield Foods have less than a splendid track record with hygiene and honesty.
Whether or not this particular facility was responsible for this outbreak, the question has to be asked, how can factory farms NOT inevitably spread disease?
There are hundreds of millions of pigs and chickens crammed in unnatural, stressful environments in these "facilities" all over the world. They are often fed antibiotics in their food to stop them from getting sick in these breading grounds for disease called factory farms. Frequent use of anti-biotics is KNOWN to result in super-bugs that become resistant to the drugs. The huge amounts of waste they produce is not treated the way human waste is, it is instead channeled into huge open-air ses-pits, or as the "facilities" like to refer to them, "lagoons". These lagoons attract large swarms of flies that feed off the untreated waste and then may fly to local communities. And of course, the health of communities living near factory farms can also be seriously affected (as a great report called the PEW Report discusses).
With all the warning signs - the hideous animal cruelty, the previous pandemic scares and the devastating environmental toll - we have every reason to be worried of a disease outbreak. And yet people are still encouraged to chow down on their pork chops and chicken nuggets. It seems we are too scared to face the awful predicament we have gotten ourselves (and the animals) into with factory farming.
"Swine flu is a result of the inhumanity practiced by pig farmers who prioritise profits over animal welfare. People who eat pork products ignore that the pig industry severely harms the environment and the pigs.
"How sadly ironic that as humans abuse animals, forcing thousands of pigs and poultry into squalid factory farms, their viruses combine and evolve into new strains that teach us a deadly lesson about the everyday abuse of animals to satisfy human greed."
I think I've just found my new favourite cartoon! This brilliant illustration was sent to us by the insightful and very talented Donn Pattenden (thanks Donn!).
This is one issue that really stirs me up. The meat and dairy industries are huge water guzzlers. The UN's Food and Agriculture Organisation estimates that one glass of milk takes roughly 200 litres of water to produce. That's almost 3 days worth of showers! But that's nothing compared to the 100,000 litres of water that David Pimentel, a water resource specialist, says is required to produce just 1 kilo of beef!
In a country as dry as Australia, this sort of squandering of water just doesn't make sense. I live in Brisbane, where water shortages are a real threat (just like many of our other cities). We've been told to keep our domestic water usage below 140L of water per person per day...
I'm all for water conservation at home. In fact, we've just installed a new rain water tank :-) ... but when 70% of global water usage is for agriculture, it seems like what we eat and drink would be a smart place for us to start looking at how we can save water.
In a recent press release, the Australian Chicken Meat Federation made a gutsy move in admitting what we all already know: meat stinks for the environment. They say: "if we are to avoid a food and environmental crisis, we must improve the efficiency of grain use for meat production or simply eat less of all types of meat."
Perhaps they read the UN's Livestock's Long Shadow report which reveals that meat production is responsible for more greenhouse gas emissions than all the world's planes, trains, and automobiles combined!
Despite this momentary glimpse of clarity, ACMF attempts to suggest that the solution is not to save the planet (and our struggling health system) by adopting a healthier, vegetarian diet—but to eat more birds! Clearly one saturated-fat-laden-chicken-wing-too-many has clogged vital blood vessels to the brain of the exec who thought up that brilliant idea.
While it might be true that raising pigs, cows and sheep are even worse for the planet than chickens, the poultry industry is still responsible for massive amounts of damaging pollution that is wreaking havoc on the environment. Incidentally, a key reason for the difference between the ecological footprint of raising chickens and other animals is that Australia's meat chickens have been bred to grow so unnaturally fast that they are just 6-week-old babies—many of which suffer heart conditions and lameness—when they are killed for their flesh. This cruel system is something the chicken industry likes to euphemistically call 'food conversion efficiency'.
So, as the Australian Chicken Meat Federation says, eat less of all types of meat. But really, when it's so easy to save 100 lives every year, why not dump meat all together?
This is the coolest thing I've seen all week! If you're like me and think it's pretty cool to have a planet to live on (and want to keep it), and you dig animation, then check out Animal Planet's new tips to protect animals (and the planet)...
And while you're at it, send them a thank you email to let them know how fantastic they are for encouraging people to eat less meat. There's no better way to save the planet, so kudos to them for speaking up!
p.s. If anyone out there has animation skills to offer up, drop me a line. We can always put you to work to kick ass for animals.
I have to admit, I have a real soft spot for good spoken word. There's something awe inspiring in seeing a room full of people transfixed by words. And Saul Williams takes the cake for razor sharp lyrics with a political bite (check out any of his performances on youtube and you'll see what I mean). There's an intense passion behind his genre-leaping mix of performance poetry, underground hip-hop, rock, drum and bass and anything else that takes his fancy.
Speaking out on everything from workers' rights to the environment to the war in Iraq, Saul's music and activism meld seamlessly. His poetry inspires action and his actions inspire. With lyrical gems like "Quit rhyming about being hardcore. Be heart-core. What else is life worth living for?" how can anyone not dig his music and his message? And to top it off he's vegan!
I recently stumbled across an email Saul sent to his fans and thought I'd share a few of his insights with you all. Saul talks in big ideas and, being a poet, can write like words are going out of style. But his message is worth the read.
Martin Luther King said "Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter." If you ask me, Saul Williams is definitely alive and kicking. I hope you are too! Anyway, enough babble, here's what the man had to say:
"A story was recently recounted to me of a popular TV chef who chose to raise little piglets on his show to insure that they were fed organic food and not injected with chemicals (as is the practice on most factory farms), all for the sake of fattening them up for their slaughter and another primetime recipe. Yet, the time that this chef spent with these pigs taught him a valuable lesson (more valuable for the pigs, no doubt). What he learned was how intelligent pigs are. In fact, in recent times, it is common knowledge for most that pigs are arguably more intelligent than “mans best friend” and companion, the dog. For our chef, this meant switching gears and realizing that he could not consciously kill this intelligent animal, that it would constitute a murder as brutal as slicing your fluffy pets neck and watching it writhe and bleed to death, or sticking an electric prod up its ass and electrocuting it, if the fur or skin is of value…
I wouldn’t want to make you “lose your lunch”, but these are the common practices perpetuated by the factory farm industry on millions of animals a day, in the name of your breakfast lunch and dinner. And, no, I’m not simply talking about pigs, but also cows, chickens, turkey, horses (that’s right horses. Everyday), and fish. Everyday, our species participates in the mass genocide of other species without care or concern or even questioning whether the violence that we ingest and condone plays any role in our apathetic support of the war machine we have become. How is it that we as human beings can represent both the highest and most developed and lowest and least concerned forms of intelligence of any living species? Are we simply glued to age-old barbaric traditions that cloud our senses and render us inhumane in our dependence on comfort foods and practices?
[W]e all identify with the teachings of Gandhi, the genius of Einstein, the art of Leonardo Da Vinci, Picasso, Rembrandt and the talent and compassion of living artists like Alice Walker, Will Smith, The Mars Volta, Dead Prez, Prince and countless others. Some of us choose to emulate their styles, their fashion, their career choices, but why not their diets?
Perhaps the biggest issue at hand is not what our cars run on, but essentially what do we run on?
I find all animals beautiful, whether it's the majestic African elephant, the playful red squirrel or a lipstick red bummed Baboon, they are all exquisite to me (well, it could be suggested that in polite society baboons wear underpants). For people to announce they love animals whilst tucking into a plate of dead ones is a glaringly obvious contradiction. If you love animals, why would you eat them?
The only things you'll be missing out on a veg diet are things like cancer and heart disease. In the many years I have been vegetarian I have never suffered from the dreaded 'A' (anemia) and being veg has been too easy!
Eat animals, increase your risk of cancer, heart disease, destroy the planet OR be healthy, care for the planet and give true meaning to the phrase 'animal lover'!
Kicking ass across the country, Caliban's Australian tour was a blast. With horror-show outfits and enough German metal to make any metal-head drool, this was one tour you wouldn't want to take your Gran to.
While these guys gored it up on stage (bloodied outfits and all), offstage they're as horrified by animal cruelty as just about anyone. We first met up with the band after they'd spent the day at a wildlife reserve, checking out some Aussie inhabitants (of the animal variety). Marc and Andy quickly fessed up to being big into animals, no wonder they're both veg.
After letting the Unleashed team romp around the East Coast with their crew, we gotta say a big hoorah to Caliban for helping us get the word out about how we can all stop animal cruelty.
Can't wait for these guys to grace our shores again!
Did you catch Caliban doing their thing? Drop us a line and let us know: What was your highlight?
Here’s a bit of a laugh. Many of you will remember Sam Neil making a brain-dead buffoon of himself when he starred (or rather dimmed) in Meat and Livestock Australia’s ads where he suggested humans needed meat to be smart. Perhaps Sam didn’t check out our list of brainiac vegetarians before he signed up to make a fool of himself. If he had, we would have realised that Einstein, Pythagoras, Da Vinci, Plato, Socrates, Newton (and the list goes on) were all vegetarians.
Anyway, this video posted on YouTube by VeggieVidz and starring a younger, and perhaps wiser Sam Neil, who sets the record straight.
When I think of My Chemical Romance, I think of big band, big sound, big show. And when these guys stormed our shores they didn't disappoint. And nor did their fans ... check this super human costume effort (from the Melbourne show):
Hehehe ... ahem ... oh yeah, back to the show:
As if the music and packed crowds weren't enough to heat things up the pyrotechnics certainly added one helluva spark. The band were all in great form, but I have to say Frank Iero was my highlight ... but then maybe I'm a little biased.
Frank is almost as well known for his big heart as he is for his gift with the guitar. Being a vegetarian and supporter of anything to help the animals Frank was kind enough to let us unleash our tabling crew once more to join them on the tour.
Stylin it up, exploding on stage and helping animals is all just in a day's work for Frank. You may or may not have as much style as Frank (I certainly don't.); and you may or may not be a guitar hero (I'm certainly not!); but you can certainly help animals today. So let's change the world!
We’re supposed to let you know that the ideas expressed here are the views of the individual authors, and may not necessarily reflect the views of Animals Australia or Animals Australia Unleashed. So now you know.